THE BREWER’S DAUGHTER – Make Believe (own label)

Make BelieveYou know that rare moment when you hear something for the first time and it rocks you back on your heels. That. That’s what I got when I picked a song at random from The Brewer’s Daughter’s press pack. The Brewer’s Daughter is Rhiannon Crutchley, she lives on a narrow boat, plays fiddle and guitar, sings and writes songs and Make Believe is her first album. And, yes, her father is a brewer at the Albion Brewery in Northampton. Rhiannon is of mixed English, Irish and Ukrainian descent which may account for a vocal range that starts somewhere in her boots. Her voice might be described as “unpolished”; it’s rugged and authentic with a bit of the young Billy Bragg about it and that’s what I like about The Brewer’s Daughter.

The record is topped and tailed by two short fiddle pieces and the first song is Dave Sudbury’s ‘The King Of Rome’ brought to wider attention by June Tabor. Much as I like Ms Tabor’s version, she couldn’t convince you that she knew much about the rough end of anywhere. Rhiannon can do that and make you believe that she understands the importance of that pigeon. This song is the album’s production number in that it features Fraggle from Back To The Planet on second guitar with Rhiannon’s guitar and fiddle double-tracked.

‘The King Of Rome’ sets the scene for a bunch of The Brewer’s Daughter’s own songs beginning with ‘Gypsy Skies’, an ode to freedom – “I don’t need a thing but I’ve got everything”. ‘Green, Green Grass’ approximates a blues format with a hint of country fiddle and reinforces her thoughts on the freedom of the open country. ‘All My Friends’ – yeah, I’m still trying to figure this one out. The album winds up with ‘Go, Lassie, Go’ or whatever you prefer to call it, and an a capella ‘Fiddler’s Green’ both miss-credited as traditional, which is about the only thing that I can find to criticise here.

I’d like to say that The Brewer’s Daughter has a great future ahead of her but I fear that she’s far too honest for the market as it stands. If you understand what Lucy Ward and Ellie Osborne are about you’ll love this.

Dai Jeffries

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